Saturday, 13 March 2010

for a friend of a friend


Yesterday I learned a friend of a friend had been shot.
Point-blank, in front of her house as she was returning home.
Someone wanted her car.

Why am I telling you this?
Because I want to cry out: 'No!' I want to ventilate my outrage, my disbelief, my sorrow.

It is a terrible crime.

Why, why did he have to shoot her? Did he really not know she would have handed it over in a second given the choice?

She is left paralysed.

How dare anyone change her life, the lives of those who know her, love and depend on her, how can anyone have so little regard for another human being?
And for what?

What has to happen to make anyone able to do that?

I think of the chance-less children I have met and loved in South-Africa and my heart grows cold. Please, no.......

I know brutal injustices happen daily, all over the world. We all know that.
We choose not to let it sink in, you can't, you would not survive.
But when it is more than a few lines in a newspaper, when the victim becomes a real person, it hits home.

And you have got to face it, this is the world we live in.

I wished this friend of a friend recovery of health and faith in humanity.

Now I am wondering about faith.
What happens when we lose it? Do we become bitter, can we no longer feel joy and love innocently?

I think of words like hope and love and forgiveness - they look like they could mean something -
but not right now.

The bullet that hit this woman, that smashed her flesh and bones, destroying her expectations, the life she dreamed about or simply took for granted, her agony, fear and disbelief............that bullet caused another, more gentle impact, a ripple of contemplation, reaching people like me, and now you.

I realise now I have wished to live life refusing to believe anyone would want to harm me.
How foolish is that?

We can easily become bitter and cynical, and justifiably, but that is not going to help.

I hope this tragic story will remind us how fragile we are and how precious life is.

How we must never stop caring.


1 comment:

  1. For us living here in SA (and I sure other parts of the world too) this is an all too familiar scenario and yes, the challenge is not to allow oneself to become bitter and cynical. I lost a friend who was killed with his brother while on a fishing holiday on the Wild Coast because of something absolutely unrelated to him that happened elsewhere in the country (the killing of Chris Hani). Today his killers walk free (given amnesty) and I'm sure feel not an ounce of remorse about what they did. But being bitter about it is not what my friend would have wanted. Still it's hard.